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'Life of a King' Shows the Saving Power of Chess

The murder statistic of American teens has driven one man to spend more than 30 years saving lives through the game of chess. Cuban Gooding Jr. got the honor of telling his story on the big screen. Read Transcript


Reporter: WASHINGTON,

D.C., HOME TO MORE THAN A

HALF MILLION PEOPLE, AND AT

LEAST A MILLION STORIES.

THIS ONE BEGINS AT A LITTLE

WHITE HOUSE, JUST SEVEN

MILES FROM 1600 PENNSYLVANIA

AVENUE.

THIS IS THE STORY OF A

CHESS CLUB FOUNDED FOR INNER

CITY YOUTH.

IT IS DIFFERENT FROM MOST.

IT IS DISTINGUISHED OF NOT

JUST TEACHING CHESS, BUT

TRUTH.

IT TEACHES YOUNG CHILDREN TO

REASON, TO RATIONALIZE

AGAINST DECEPTION, TREACHERY

AND LIES.

WE'RE ON A MISSION TO SAVE

THE LIVES OF OUR CHILDREN,

TO TEACH THE UNTEACHABLE,

REACH THE UNREACHABLE, AND

ALWAYS THINK BEFORE YOU

MOVE.

Reporter: EUGENE BROWN

BOUGHT THE OLD HOUSE IN THE

EARLY '90s, THEN TRAVELLED

TO THE CITY'S TOUGHEST

NEIGHBORHOODS, RECRUITING

KIDS TO LEARN CHESS AND JOIN

HIS CLUB.

I'M GOING INTO MY THIRD

DECADE OF TEACHING CHESS.

AND I CAN ACTUALLY SAY THAT

I THINK I'M THE ONE THAT

BROUGHT CHESS EAST OF THE

RIVER, IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

Reporter: YET THIS IS

MORE THAN JUST A GAME TO THE

D.C. NATIVE.

IT IS A LIFESAVER FOR THE

THOUSANDS WHO SAT DOWN WITH

HIM OVER THE YEARS.

SOME OF THEM NEVER

LEARNED HOW TO BE REAL GOOD

CHESS PLAYERS, BUT THAT IS

NOT OUR MISSION.

OUR MISSION IS TO GET THEM

TO THINK BEFORE THEY MOVE.

YOU KNOW, BECAUSE I'VE SEEN

TOO MANY KIDS MAKE IMPULSIVE

DECISIONS THAT HAS ENDED UP

COSTING THEM THE REST OF

THEIR LIFE.

Reporter: IMPULSIVE

DECISIONS PUT BROWN'S SON IN

JAIL FOR 16 YEARS.

HIS GRANDSON IS BEHIND BARS

NOW.

AND DESPITE HIS MOTHER AND

FATHER'S LOVE AND HARD WORK,

EUGENE DID TIME, TOO.

I MUST HAVE DID ALMOST

CLOSE TO 20 YEARS ON

LAY-AWAY PLANS.

SEVEN YEARS HERE, EIGHT

YEARS HERE, SIX MONTHS

HERE.

Reporter: WE VISITED

ONE OF THOSE STOPS WHERE

EUGENE WENT AFTER TRYING TO

HOLD UP A BANK FOR $3200.

I WENT INTO TRENTON STATE

PRISON IN NEW JERSEY IN

1969.

I WAS A YOUNG GUY.

I DIDN'T KNOW ANYONE IN THAT

PRISON.

Reporter: EUGENE BROWN

SPENT MORE THAN A DOZEN

YEARS LOCKED UP HERE AT THE

NEW JERSEY STATE PRISON FOR

THAT BOTCHED ROBBERY

ATTEMPT.

THEY WERE AMONG SOME OF THE

TOUGHEST YEARS OF HIS LIFE,

BUT HE STILL TOOK SOLACE IN

PLAYING THE GAME OF CHESS.

THAT'S HOW I DID MY TIME,

ON A CHESS BOARD.

I'VE SEEN THE MUSLIMS, I'VE

SEEN THE CHRISTIANS, I'VE

SEEN THE STICK-UP GUYS, AND

I'VE SEEN EVERYBODY HAD

THEIR CLICKS.

AND MY CLICK WAS CHESS.

AND THAT'S WHAT I CARRIED

AROUND.

Reporter: THE BIG

CHANGE CAME WHEN ANOTHER

INMATE TAUGHT BROWN TO APPLY

THE GAME TO HIS LIFE.

I SAID, MAN, I'M LOST.

AND HE SAID, MAN, YOU NEVER

LOSE.

YOU ARE EITHER LEARNING

LESSONS OR TEACHING

LESSONS.

CHESS IS THE ONLY GAME THAT

CAN'T BE WON; IT CAN ONLY BE

PLAYED.

THERE ARE THREE STAGES OF

LIFE, YOU OPEN IT, WHEN

YOU'RE A YOUNG FELLOW, THE

MIDDLE GAME, WHEN YOU'RE

MIDDLE-AGED, AND THE END

GAME.

Reporter: HE HAS

SHARING THOSE LESSONS WITH

CHILDREN SINCE HIS RELEASE.

HE HAS EARNED CHESS AWARDS,

RECOGNITION FROM THE CITY,

AND NOW HIS STORY MOVES TO

THE BIG SCREEN, IN "LIFE OF

A KING," STARRING

ACADEMY-AWARD WINNER CUBA

GOODING, JR.

AH, YES, THE PAWNS.

THEY ARE THE FRONT LINE.

THERE WILL BE CASUALTIES.

THAT WAS REALLY A

WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE, TO

WATCH IT THE FIRST TIME.

I THINK THAT'S WHY I'M

TALKING ABOUT IT LIKE

CRAZY.

Reporter: GOODING

COMPARES THIS ROLE TO THE

NOBLE CHARACTERS HE HAS

PLAYED WITH MOVIES LIKE "MAN

OF HONOR."

Reporter: ONE OF THE

THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT YOU IS

YOU MAKE NO BONES ABOUT

BEING A CHRISTIAN.

THAT'S RIGHT.

I'M SURPRISED --

[LAUGHTER]

Reporter: THIS FILM

DOESN'T BLATENTLY DISPLAY

FAITH, BUT SURELY YOU SEE IT

IN THE FILM.

IT'S GOD'S WILL.

IT REALLY IS.

AND THAT'S WHAT IS SO COOL

ABOUT STUFF LIKE THIS.

MAN, IT'S, LIKE, I'M NO

SAINT IN ANY WAY, AND I MAKE

MISTAKES AND I SIN

CONSTANTLY.

BUT IT IS MY RELATIONSHIP I

HAVE -- WHEN YOU LEARN ABOUT

PEOPLE DOING GREAT THINGS

LIKE THIS, WHO HAVE BEEN

INCARCERATED, IT IS EASY TO

SAY HE IS A FELON, AN

EX-CON, BUT THIS IS AN

EX-CON WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE

IN THE LIVES OF THESE KIDS

WHO ARE NOW CONSIDERED

INTELLECTUALS.

AND THAT CONNECTIVE TISSUE

OF SOCIETY AND LIFE IS WHAT

INTRIGUES ME.

I HOPE PEOPLE FIND HEALING

IN STORIES LIKE THIS.

KING PERRY IT IS.

KING PERRY HAS AN ARMY, AND

YOU'RE A PART OF IT.

BUT THE PROBLEM IS YOU THINK

YOU ARE OUT THERE DOING THE

KING'S BUSINESS, AND ALL

YOU'RE REALLY DOING IS

SACRIFICING YOURSELF, LIKE

THE PAWN YOU REALLY ARE.

IT AIN'T LIKE THAT.

IT'S EXACTLY LIKE THAT,

PARTNER.

I DIDN'T KNOW I LOOKED

THAT GOOD.

Reporter: BROWN LOVES

THE FILM BUT SAYS HE CAN'T

TAKE CREDIT FOR THIS LATEST

MOVE IN HIS END GAME.

THE ONLY REASON THIS

MOVIE WAS MADE, THE ONLY

REASON THAT I'M HERE IS AN

A ANCESTORAL BLESSING.

IT WAS PROBABLY MY GREAT,

GREAT GRANDMOTHER THAT

PRAYED FOR US.

I KNOW MY MOTHER DID.

THIS IS ALL OF THOSE PEOPLE

THAT PRAYED FOR OUR FAMILY,

FOR ME.

Reporter: AND HE THANKS

GOD FOR TURNING HIS TALE OF

DISGRACE INTO A STORY OF

DIGNITY.

ONCE YOU EXCEPT GOD,

THERE IS NO LIMIT TO WHAT

YOU CAN DO.

Reporter: EPHRAIM

GRAHAM, CBN NEWS,

WASHINGTON.

EMBED THIS VIDEO


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